Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update December 6th, 2019

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Willamette Valley/Metro – Did somebody shut the water off? Winter steelhead passage at Willamette Falls has dropped to zero. I don’t think there’s any sea lions to thwart them, just low water at this point. There may be some steelhead stacking up by Goat Island, but no one is fishing for them.

Catch and release sturgeon fishing in the Portland Harbor is good. Frozen smelt, anchovies and sand shrimp is taking fish for those willing to endure the cold.

The Clackamas has yet to fire up for steelhead, we’re still many weeks away from credible hope.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports on the Sandy River, “Hello All.  I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving sharing with family and friends. This week’s report is the coho season is winding down and everyone is now waiting for the start of winter steelheading. The Sandy is running at an all-time low with the current condition is that the Sandy is running at 8.11ft which is summer time low. The water temp is currently running about 39 degrees and will continue to drop as the weather temp tends to drop. The forecast is for rain in small amounts but not enough to raise the river to ideal level. We need to have one huge rain to really get things going in order to draw fish into the river. The freezing level is going to be stable for the next few weeks. The freezing level is currently between 4000ft to 5000ft with any rain we get, it will put more snow in the foothills. Coho fishing is slowly coming to an end and most of the fish that are still entering the river are native fish with maybe a hand full of hatchery fish.”

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More TROUT STOCKING of both legals and trophy trout in the Willamette Valley and throughout the state. Fall is a great time to take advantage of these fish that are wanting to put on some winter pounds before the weather hits.

Northwest Oregon – With fall Chinook continuing it’s decline, anglers are more anxious than ever to get the winter steelhead season underway. And speaking of decline, why not add insult to injury as ODF&W recently released another emergency regulation action as many of the fall Chinook of the Wilson River are turning up dead before they get a chance to spawn. This pre-spawn mortality has sparked another closure on the Wilson, quite an extensive one. Read all the details in the press release HERE. Basically, the entire lower Wilson is now closed to Chinook angling starting December 7th.

That still leaves other waterways on the north coast and Tillamook Bay itself. Fishing on Tillamook however has been predictably slow. The Ghost Hole, Bay City and to a lesser degree, the West Channel all remain options for Chinook trollers.

It’s still early for winter steelhead but rivers remain extremely low so steelhead are not migrating upstream. The North Fork Nehalem is reporting no steelhead at the hatchery, but it’s likely they remain in tidewater, just like they do on the Necanicum, Three Rivers and the lower reaches of the Alsea as well.

Earlier this week, there was a nice window for offshore bottomfishing opportunities and crabbing too! Ocean sport crabbing opened up on 12/1 and the few that made it out, suggested crabbing a bit deeper, around 100 foot if you have the rope. The crab are in good shape, and plenty of them.

Bottomfishing was fair for lingcod and a few sea bass. The ocean has since turned too rough to recreate on so we’re on stand-by for a while longer.

Bay crabbing is fair on some estuaries, challenging on others as interest is high during the holiday season and nice weather stint.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports

From avid angler Tim Moran

Lower Deschutes River –  I woke up the folks at the fly shop in Maupin to see what was going on.  The report is a few steelhead fishermen/women are still out there and they’re getting a fish or two.

John Day River – There are steelhead up to Cottonwood and probably beyond.  It’s cold and windy a lot of the time so swinging flies might be difficult. 

Metolius River –  Not up to date reports but the Met is a great winter fishery! 

Crooked River – It should fish well this weekend with a bit warmer temps.   

Prineville Reservoir –  There are fish to be had here.  Fish to 24 inches are common.

Best of luck to everyone this weekend.  

From ODF&W

With the recent winter storm, roads may be treacherous and waterbodies may be freezing over, especially at higher elevations. Be sure to check on conditions before heading out.

With fall Chinook spawning on the lower Deschutes, anglers should consider egg patterns for targeting trout.

Steelhead anglers on the lower Deschutes should concentrate on the Maupin to Warm Springs section.

Trout anglers can target the Crooked, lower Deschutes and Metolius rivers, where fishing for native redbands can be good throughout the year.

With the recent winter storm, roads may be treacherous and waterbodies may be freezing over, especially at higher elevations. Be sure to check on conditions before heading out.

The McNary Ponds have a surprising number of walleye. Look for the deepest areas and fish worms near the bottom.

With the recent winter storm, roads may be treacherous and waterbodies may be freezing over, especially at higher elevations. Be sure to check on conditions before heading out.

Many lakes and reservoirs are freezing overnight, but then melting during the day in time for afternoon trout fishing.

The best bet remains the Klamath River below Keno Dam and JC Boyle dam to the Frain Ranch.

Instead, consider Ana Reservoir and River, as these spring-fed waterbodies remain a constant temperature throughout the year and don’t freeze.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Fishing for lingcod and rockfish was very good this past weekend. Many anglers caught big lingcod while fishing out past 40 fathoms. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod.

The harvest of cabezon along with copper, quillback, and China rockfish are now all closed to boat anglers. Shore anglers will still be able to harvest these rockfish species (but are encouraged to release them) and 1 cabezon a day.

With the recent winter storm, roads may be treacherous and waterbodies may be freezing over, especially at higher elevations. Be sure to check on conditions before heading out.

Steelhead fishing in the middle Rogue continues to be good.

Trout and summer steelhead are both open on the upper Rogue, and anglers continue to have good luck catching summer steelhead.

While access permits, Howard Prairie, Fish Lake or Hyatt still remain great fishing opportunities for trout, especially from pontoons or kayaks.

Effective Dec. 7, the emergency angling closures in the Winchuck, Chetco, Elk and Sixes Rivers will be lifted. Reduced wild Chinook harvest and bag limits remain in effect.

2019 Stocking schedule and Stocking Maps

SW Washington –  From the WDF&W web site, December 3rd.

For regulation updates, go HERE.

Fishery Updates

Columbia River Tributaries


Elochoman River – 1 bank angler had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 13 bank rods released one Chinook. 4 boats/16 rods kept six coho.

Kalama River – 6 bank anglers had no catch.

Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.